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Professional Coach Eva Storey Bridges the Gap Between Nursing Practice and Leadership

The article was featured on Business Insider on 23rd April 2024.

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Nursing shortages often thrust junior nurses into senior roles before they’re ready. Eva Storey provides coaching services to help prepare them for leadership responsibilities.

Perth, Australia–(Newsfile Corp. – April 23, 2024) – For many years, the healthcare sector, including the nursing profession, has been struggling with issues of staffing shortages and burnout. The COVID pandemic exacerbated these issues and brought them to the fore. A report by the International Council of Nurses cites more than 100 studies that showed between 40% and 80% of nurses reported having experienced symptoms of psychological distress. At least 20% of nurses have signaled their intention to leave their jobs, and annual hospital turnover rates have increased to 10%.

These statistics paint a dire picture of the state of the nursing profession. With many senior nurses leaving their jobs, oftentimes, the junior cohort of nurses is suddenly needed to step up and fill those vacated shoes. These junior nurses are likely to have not yet developed the leadership skills needed for these senior leadership or management roles, causing them to feel unprepared and overwhelmed, increasing the chances of burnout and attrition, and keeping a vicious cycle going. Obviously, this is a multifaceted problem that requires a complex solution throughout the health system. But, on an individual level, nurses need support and coaching to help prepare them for the increased demands of leadership roles.

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Professional Coach Eva Storey

Eva Storey, a professional coach based in Perth, Australia, is a nurse with 41 years of international nursing and leadership experience. As a coach, she focuses on helping clients manage stress and overwhelm as a nursing professional, as well as helping them become empowered leaders through leadership support and development training. Her online coaching programs allow her to reach professionals all over the world, and technology also allows clients to learn on their own time, given how nurses often work on variable shifts.

Having experienced firsthand the rigors and pressures of nursing, Storey knows that many professionals in the field are caring individuals and, many times, end up sacrificing their own health and well-being in the line of duty. A dedicated hospital nurse, she felt lost and aimless after her job was abolished during a financial restructuring. Lost for answers, she decided to hire a coach, which was a life-changing decision. Over time, coaching helped her see how she could use her skills, knowledge, and experience in a different way. This started her journey of self-discovery, which led her to study to become a coach, to be able to help others in the same way that she had been helped.

Storey possesses extensive experience, both as a nurse and a coach. She has worked in leadership roles in the UK, Qatar, and Australia and holds the following coaching credentials: Professional Certified Coach, Certified Global Leadership Coach, Certified Global Team Coach, Certified Practitioner of the Global Leadership Assessment (GLA360), Codebreaker Technologies Certified Coach, and the Resilience at Work® Toolkit Accreditation. While Storey focuses on coaching nurses, she also helps other healthcare professionals to gain leadership skills that are valuable in clinical practice.

Today, with the rapid turnover of nursing roles, Storey is stepping into the gap helping develop the leadership skills of nurses who have been called to step up to more senior roles. This situation, she says, is a double-edged sword. While promotions and career advancement are welcome developments for professionals, many of these nurses also don’t have the expertise or the mentors that perhaps they would have had if they spent more time in their previous roles.

“I believe the training that nurses get around leadership, doesn’t always equip them with the how-to skills. Nurses often don’t like to admit that they don’t know how to do something, probably because all of us have some kind of impostor syndrome. We usually think: ‘If I tell somebody I don’t know what I’m doing, what are they going to think of me?’ A lot of this is under the surface, and my coaching provides a confidential, safe space for clients to explore and learn about the foundations of leadership.”

Additionally, Storey’s coaching also helps nurses gain a healthy separation between their work and their personal lives, preventing burnout and further problems down the line.

“Several times, I’ve worked with people whose previous coach wasn’t a nurse, and they’ve struggled a little bit because the person didn’t understand the context of healthcare,” Storey says. “I believe that’s my advantage. I’m somebody who has worked in healthcare, so I know what nurses go through, such as having to learn many things through trial and error, often with little support.”

During the 2020 International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, honoring Florence Nightingale’s 200th anniversary, Storey launched her podcast, Real Nurse Stories. The podcast seeks to empower nurses by providing a platform for them to share their journeys and find solidarity in their challenges. It also seeks to modernize the image of nursing careers, highlighting the opportunities available to nursing professionals today. Storey is also writing her book, which she seeks to publish by the end of this year, about the foundations of leadership for nurses.

“I want nurses to understand how coaching can help them. It doesn’t fix everything, but it’s one of a number of modalities that they can have in their toolbox,” Storey says.

“Additionally, organizations will be looking to retain staff in a very competitive market for nursing. I believe that the future will belong to those organizations that can really articulate how they are going to look after their nursing staff. The organizations that do that well will become employers of choice, and nurses will consciously choose to work for them. This is where I see the value of coaching for healthcare organizations, who previously haven’t thought about coaching as one of a number of approaches to better support their nursing workforce, which is under a lot of stress right now.”